tv News 4 Today NBC July 1, 2012 6:00am-8:00am EDT
they told me seven days. who can wait seven days with 100 degrees? >> more than 30 hours after the storm, frustration is beginning to settle in for thousands of people in our area still without power this morning. >> crews are working around the clock to clear trees and restore electricity, but days of work are still ahead. good morning. welcome to news4 today. i'm richard jordan. >> it is sunday, july 1, 2012. >> the deadly storm has many people still waking up without power this morning. the violent storm killed 13
people, including five here in our area. >> strong winds knocked down trees that fell through the roofs of two elderly women's home, killing them. and two drivers were killed in their cars, and a downed power line electrocuted a man. >> and the boil water is in effect in fairfax county. >> that's right. in the district, maryland, virginia and west virginia all declare states of emergency. we'll have more on power outages and clean-up in a moment. but first, let's take look at how hot it's going to get today and if more storms are in the forecast. meteorologist chuck bell joins us with the latest. hi, chuck. you can't wait to get out there. what are we in for today? >> another steam bath unfortunately for us today. the good news, i think the thunderstorm threat is fairly low today. it's not zero, but it's fairly low. i didn't put a chance of a pop of rain on the forecast.
but with the intense humidity around, a bubble up thunderstorm cannot be completely ruled out. it's a balmy and steamy start, 79 now in annapolis, 77 downtown. a little bit of relief out across the western suburbs where winchester and hagerstown are in the low 70s. you can't rule out a few spritzes and drops this morning. but there's another round out there towards cincinnati, we'll be keeping a close eye on that. i think the better rain chances today will be down to the south and southwest of the immediate metropolitan area. rain chances are not zero. and with all of the intense heat cooking up we can't rule out a chance for a stronger thunderstorm. there's your sunday planner bathed in darkness. but temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. dangerously hot for today. very, very warm also at the baseball game. the braves and the nationals. first pitch at 1:35 this afternoon. 95 degrees at first pitch. but again, not looking for a big
threat for rain today but what few storms bubble up could be strong. we'll be here to keep you posted. >> thank you, chuck bell. see you in a bit. in the middle of a heat wave, more than 882,000 homes in the region do not have power. that's down from over a million overnight. pepco reports more than 360,000 people without power. and smeco more than 250,000 and novak reports more than 142,000. power companies say it could take up to a week to restore power to all the customers. not only are thousands without power, but the danger of downed wires and trees. we have more on where a tree is blocking traffic. >> reporter: that's right. we have a miss here on the 2900 block of fox hall road. near garfield street. look at this very large tree that came down in this storm. you can see that it's leaning across the entire roadway and it
came down on some power lines. we have a power pole that's leaning and then you've got the wires down below. a dangerous situation and we had a fatality. someone died over if weekend when they came in contact with a live wire. so you want to be very, very careful if you come upon something like this. even if you think it's been this way for a while or several hours, don't touch the line. pay attention to the detour. just take a different route. don't put yourself at risk here. you can see the detour up across fox hall road. they have to turn traffic here that's the situation not only in this neighborhood but all across the region. the storm was widespread. it hid a wide area. maryland, virginia, d.c. you're going to encounter problems like this still. another thing to encounter, traffic signals that are dark like at this intersection. just be alert. if you're out and about this morning, keep in mind as you drive along you may come to an intersection that is completely dark.
be aware of the pedestrians, the cross walk signs aren't working either. a lot of folks are taking the detours so they're meandering through the neighborhood. you're seeing traffic in your neighborhood that you're not used to seeing because the roads are closed. we are seeing this not only in one jurisdiction, but across the jurisdiction. we have a lot of the power being restored hour by hour. the numbers improve but we still have an awful lot of lines down, an awful lot of trees down. be aware of that this morning. megan mcgrath, news4. >> thank you very much. well, the lights are still out for thousands of people in prince georges county this morning. firefighters were called to a senior living apartment building yesterday after residents began getting sick from the heat. pepco is working to restore electricity to more than 100,000 people in prince georges county. residents could be waiting up to seven days for power to come back on. >> they told me seven days. who can wait seven days with 100
degrees? >> high winds ripped roofs right off of apartment buildings in hyattsville and riverdale. at least one man had to be rescued from a burning apartment in landover hills. at this bp gas station, wind blew the canopy over and broke a pump. a woman pumping gas at the time was not hurt. someone broke into the business after it was shut down. fortunately, nothing was taken. residents in fairfax county are waking up under a boil water advisory. it's for tysons corner, vienna, dun loring and merry field. the advisory is because water pressure is low. failure to boil water could lead to stomach or intestinal issues. and the washington suburban sanitary commission is ordering customers to stop outdoor water
usage and they should limit toilet flushing and postpone using the dishwasher or washing machines. all water is safe to drink but power problems have slowed down their distribution system. the time right now is 6:06. coming up, we'll have the latest from the at&t national golf tournament in bethesda and spectators were kept away [ male announcer ] it would be easy for u.s. olympian meb keflezighi
real big deals of the week. or how to keep from driving all over for the best deals. you don't need to run around. safeway gives you real big club card deals each week. this week, the farm comes to you. fresh sweet corn is an amazing 6 for a buck. deer park water is just $3.33 a case. and honey bunches of oats just $1.88 a box. real big deals this week and every week. only at safeway. ingredients for life. good morning. thanks so much for staying with us here on news4 today. meteorologist chuck bell joining us. going to be another scorcher out there, are we going to hit the triple digit mark? >> i think we'll fall oh so short of triple digits. >> darn. >> might as well make it to 100. but for so many people without
air conditioning every degree below 100 degrees will be appreciated. another sizzling, steamy, miserable, uncomfortable, unpleasant day to be outside today and if you're one of the hundreds of thousands without electricity still, no real relief in sight for you. if you've got friends or neighbors close by with the ac, that's where you should be. at least taking some shade and cool breaks during the course of the day. just midsummer misery across the area again this morning. barely a breeze out there first thing to keep you cooled down. temperatures are on the mild side. mid to upper 70s around town. here at national airport, it's 77 degrees at 6:00 a.m. with the dew point right at the 70-degree mark. so humidity -- relative humidity 79%. winds only out of the southwest at five miles an hour. not a whole lot of a breeze out there. at least yesterday afternoon we had a brisk north to northwesterly wind. westerly winds, but only in the
five to ten mile per hour range. upper 60s and low 70s there. mid to upper 70s here for the next couple of hours. mid to upper 90s again later on this afternoon. 1:00 to 2:00 mid to upper 90s. temperatures back in the low to mid 90s. there will be a chance for a couple of thunderstorms. not a big threat, but any one that do get going could be strong. bethesda, maryland, mid 70s now. mid 90s by 1:00 this afternoon. 96, 97 for your high in bethesda this afternoon. back down to 80 degrees by midnight tonight. radar shows not a whole lot going out. can't rule out one or two drops around town. the storms around virginia beach won't affect us, but the ones around cincinnati, trajectory of them should take them down to our south and southwest. but it will be a close call. more ripples in the atmosphere back out to across parts of the upper midwest.
those will be storm chances that will come up for later on tomorrow and on into tuesday. so there you see on the satellite picture, not much going on. a little weather boundary down to our south. it will waiver here for the next couple of days. with that boundary around, we could brew up one or two thunderstorms down to our south today. today, that boundary sneaks back up. no relief whatsoever as far as the heat is concerned. not a big rain chance, but not zero. highs today 95. unfortunately some folks might touch 100. then for tomorrow, a risk of a drop first thing in the morning on your monday and then a risk of some thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon. beach weather, oh, get in the water. surf temperature 75 degrees. just sink yourself in up to your neck and stay cool. there's the seven-day forecast. 99 today. 95 tomorrow with two chances for rain tomorrow. one first thing and then a thunderstorm chance later tomorrow afternoon. wednesday, fourth of july, hot as a fire cracker. >> wow. what a way to put it.
>> and the pool is definitely the place to be, and the cooling centers for people as well as today. thanks, chuck. and the nats wilted in the summer heat and tiger woods is ready for the final round of the at&t national. >> that's right. chris miller has all of your highlights and this morning's sports minute. >> good morning, everybody. i'm chris miller with your sports in a minute. we start with stephen strasburg and the nationals. neither could beat the heat. here comes the brave, uggla ropes a double, plating jason hayward. and strass is done. wong didn't fare any better. he was awful. nats come up short. 7-5. os playing host to cleveland. baltimore honoring former skipper earl weaver with a seven-foot statue behind the center field wall.
the story -- choo. and the os would fall 7-5. third round at the at&t national, no speculators allowed with all the storm damage. without a huge gallery to root on tiger he entertained himself with a nice birdie chip on 6. woods a shot off the lead. held by this guy. brandon dian, 7 under. d.c. impacted in the first. ponte has the move, in the net. d.c. united has won six in a row at home, beating montmontreal. 3-0. thanks. a quick note on the find round of the at&t national. a lot of people wondering because the speculators are left
out yesterday, what are they doing for the tickets? they'll honor the tickets for today. good news on that. next up is reporters notebook. a look at stories affecting our community. >> we'll be back in 15 minutes with your top stories. >> good morning. welcome to reporters network. i'm pat lawson muse. virginia's attorney general calls the supreme court's ruling on health care last week upholding health care reform a dark day for the american people, the constitution, the rule of law and for american liberty. federal an peoples court had already overturned the lawsuit filed by him. what is your reaction to his reaction? >> it's actually a dark day for cuchinellie. he had been one of the lead people talk about how unconstitutional the obamacare plan was.
so now a conservative -- the lead conservative on the supreme court sided with those who argued that the program was in fact constitutional. so now, he's in a difficult position trying to argue against a conservative nominee. a well thought of conservative nominee by the way. and so i think it's really tough for him going forward to deal with the optics of all this. >> another sign again i use this great statement, custard's last stand. that's what we see here. the fact is that he was beaten and he comes up with these desperate remarks such as this is a dark day for america. you know, a lot of people that i heard in response to this whole thing that happened last week with the constitution and all, a lot of people are saying why can't the people come together and come up with a good health plan for america? instead of saying, you know, down with the president. the president wanted this thing and now they want to say, well, it's dark day for america. i think this is terrible. overdramatic.
>> well, i think it's a good day for the united states supreme court. >> yes. >> and i think that roberts probably realized that he didn't want to be the roger tanning of the supreme court history. roger tanning being the one who upheld the dred scott decision. that kicked us into slavery -- continued slavery and civil war. i think what he realized is that you're talking about literally tens of millions of people if we had decided not to uphold this law, then that meant i would have been responsible as supreme court justice of literally kicking tens of millions of people under the bus with no health care. >> 31 million. >> they would have had -- maybe even more. so in essence we would have been back where they started 60, 70 years ago. >> there was still a lot of protest outside the supreme court.
there's still people who don't believe this law is good, and if you talk about the politics of it tim kaine even acknowledged that more work needs to be done to bring down health care costs. >> health care costs have come down. since this law has been in da existen existence, and i know people will fact check me, health care costs have been stabilizing. remember, most of the health care, obamacare law hasn't even gone into effect that. but which that has gone into effect has stabilized health care costs. >> what about the politics of it though? the u.s. senate stakes is underway and we know there's an election in november. george allen said the court's decision reinforced what's at stake in november. >> well, you know, allen like cutchinellie and others have a real problem as we go toward november.
while i'm concerned that the president and the president's supporters can win the policy and lose the politics because they now have to go and argue and defend a tax -- essentially a tax increase, it's also certain that the allen forces if you will don't really have much of an alternative. i mean, it's one thing to say this is wrong this is unconstitutional. but what are you going to replace it with? are we going back to the status quo that's had 30-plus million people without insurance across the country and emergency room costs exploding all across the country that we all have to bear? this is one thing to say it's bad, but it's another thing to have a viable alterntive and they don't have that at this point. >> i would say that a lot of people -- i like to talk about community people. what people are saying and a lot of people in this country sick of the politics really. and a lot of people are saying, okay, this has happened. i do like what todd was saying, the correspondent -- the white
house correspondent at nbc. because of the supreme court, a public shift. >> and i will close by saying, there may be health care fatigue. this is a very complicated piece of legislation and law that most people don't understand. and i think now that the supreme court has spoken, and simply -- and the swing vote was one of the most conservative, that no one expected. >> exactly. >> i think this -- the president will have to as you mentioned earlier i think we have agree, he has to explain it. let's explain it, but clearly from his statement earlier this week, he doesn't want to prolong it. he wants to end the debate. let's move on. >> the high court took on another controversial issue and handed down another controversial ruling this week on immigration, striking down
parts of arizona's tough immigration law. reaffirming the government's role in setting policy, but it upheld a part of the law that allows the police to check the immigration status of anybody they stop for any reason. there was prince williams county crackdown before that, and the impact in this area here? >> i think at minimum it may embolden those in the commonwealth to push closer than what arizona has been able to get through the supreme court which worries me greatly. when i heard this law that was put through the arizona legislature and then we hear it being uphold by the supreme court, i thought of the past laws in the apartheid in south africa. the fact that you can ask someone to show you some papers to verify their legitimacy worries me greatly. so just on a sort of human level i'm concerned about where we're going with this. >> well, you jumped on the very thing that many of the critics
or the opponents are saying that this could lead to a big avenue of profiling, no doubt about it. >> it will be racial profiling because, okay, you stop somebody. you can say, all right, your taillight was out, or i think you're drinking and now i've got reason to arrest you or you look suspicious. i have got reason to arrest you. by the way, let me see your papers. >> by the way the arizona law requires police officers. >> that's right. >> so i think it will -- even in virginia, and you're right, embolden prince williams county to say we're doing the right thing, we have never racially profiled. reality is it will continue. >> theresa slivan is back at the helm at uva. the board of visitors gave sullivan her job back after the uproar that her forced resignation created. how difficult will it be now for the university to get back on track? >> well, i think strategy here is very important. i think that mrs. sullivan
evidently is an excellent administrator. i mean, the people are behind her and all, and it's good to see the public outcry that could bring a change or difference to a board that made the decision. but i think in the days to come, smoothness comes from strategy. i think the strategy that she has as an administrator and people supporting what she's doing it will work. >> do you think there will be long-term damage done here? boards and presidents, michael, need to be able to get along. >> i said this before, i'll say it again. uva brand is strong. they'll eventually come through this. but they're going to have to be some changes on the board because i don't see how ms. sullivan will be able to continue to work with many of the board members who wanted her out and still think she should go. >> you're right. there will be changes on the board. i think it's that simple. she won. she won big time. they made a mistake in how they
did it. that's what i find fascinating. everybody agrees, okay, you're right, maybe she should have done this or that, listened more. those of us who have served on boards or served at the pleasure of boards, this is an age-old battle. the thing i find fascinating is really the students. i have never seen students immediately respond -- >> rally. >> rally around a president of the president of the university. usually they're taking over the administration building. this is fascinating. but i think in answer to your question, i think she's won this one. and there will be new board members. >> we've got to take a break. we'll be right back.
amendments tacked on by rand paul of kentucky. they would allow residents to carry weapons and ban abortions without congress's approval for many things. was that too high price to pay for autonomy? >> you know, the city has been fighting -- the gun situation in washington is a big issue. especially in communities. especially in neighborhoods. last week, some three or four kids were shot at, you know? i mean, this plays into the -- >> they were shot. >> they were shot. and so, you know, for a congressman from kentucky to come up with this idea that, well, you can control your money if everybody walks around like it's dodge city. conceal weapons. this doesn't play too well in d.c. politic, nor does it play with kathy lanier in the police department. >> this is an age-old question with the district and the congress. there's a member of the house or the senate who wants to establish some sort of bona fides with outside groups by
changing or managing district policy. the city leaders have no real choice, but to pull back the bill and they did the right thing. >> if it's not what jerry is talking about, guns, or if it's going to be something else, abortion, it's going to be, you know, medical marijuana. for people who are visiting our city, you know, let me point out to them. they would never tolerate this kind of interference in any city in the united states. a city and a mayor debates, passes a budget and then you've got someone from kentucky telling you that your budget can't be passed unless you allow me to play, you know -- control the playground. that's what we have been to many members of congress. the residents and the city leaders, this has been nothing but a playground for folks who aren't even elected in our city. so it doesn't make any difference what the issue is and
if they hadn't pulled back, if they hadn't done this, it would have been something else. >> charter school waiting lists have grown extremely long reportedly in the city. there are more than 17,000 names on waiting lists for charter schools. about 700 available slots. what kind of commentary does this provide about public schools and what's the message? >> well, i think it says a few things. one, 17,000 number may be a little dubious because parents can place their kids on multiple waiting lists. so there's bound to be some level of double or triple counting. along the line. also, with regard to the 700 slots available, we have to remember that many of the charter schools are small operations that don't have a lot of space. so it would stand to reason that there would be an imbalance on people on the waiting lists and available spaces. but the larger point i want to make quickly though is, if you look at what's going on on the
western part of the city, the traditional public schools are booming. >> right. >> lafayette elementary school is the largest in the city. it has waiting lists that you wouldn't believe. >> exactly. >> so it all depends on where you are in the city in terms of how you feel about public education. >> i like to tag on with this, because i talked to a teacher who's a supervisor in the d.c. schools. she said i'm worried about something. you know the demographics of this city are changing. all the black kids come out of the schools and have been told that -- told their parents, you go to charter schools you'll do better. what's going to happen to the public schools, free education? the demographics will show you that the city is changing and let's ask the question. who will be in those free public schools in the future? >> there are more children in ward 8 than any ward in the district and they have fewer resources. >> right. >> that's the imbalance. and people argue, well, it's not the money. it's how that money is spent.
and that's what i would say is the commentary. if i am the chancellor, all right, you get the public school folks together with the charter school folks, and realize one size doesn't fit all. and that is what are the charter schools doing that are attracting so many people and can we implement that in the public schools? and at the same time, we have to also realize charter schools don't have to take everybody. public schools have to educate everybody that comes that way. >> exactly. even with that caveat, many charter schools are not substantially better than the traditional schools. >> that's right. that's right. >> all right, thank you, guys. thank you for joining us. stay with us now. news4 today continues.
after a hot, dark night, more than 800,000 people in our area are waking up again this morning without power. >> the reason -- friday's deadly storm that took down power lines across the area. look at a downed tree pat collins found in falls church. >> this is the base of this tree. this poplar tree that fell into the back of linda fous's yard. she just moved here. she hadn't even unpacked yet. >> power crews are warning it could be days before power is restored to everyone. good morning. welcome to news4 today. >> i'm richard jordan and it's sunday, july 1, 2012. most of the area avoided more severe weather last night. however to the south the national weather service issued a tornado warning for the richmond area after someone reported a funnel cloud spotted
about seven miles outside the city. thousands of customers there are still without power after friday's storm. >> and hopefully we can avoid more severe weather again today. chuck bell joins us now, but we're still going to have severe temperatures, right? >> yes. there's no real relief from the stifling heat and humidity out there. heat index values again this afternoon, flirting with 100 to 101 degrees. dangerously hot for sure. there's a live picture outside this morning. a nice, calm way to get your sunday started. a few mid level clouds drifting on by. temperatures are on the muggy side. 77 now in washington. 75 degrees in montgomery county, maryland. 76 in prince georges county. 75 in fairfax. 72 in winchester and front royal. a lot on the radar isn't really reaching the ground. can't rule out a sprinkle or two this morning. but most of the heavier showers are down to the south. there's another batch in cincinnati and ohio. the trajectory of the storms
should take them down to the south of the immediate metropolitan area. but fredericksburg to richmond may be in line for those. sizzling hot later on this afternoon. can't rule out a chance for some thunderstorms today. so rain chances are not zero today. not very high, but what few storms we do cook up may also be strong. so keep a weather eye to the sky. they won't be garden variety thunderstorms. the good news is we won't have that many storms to worry about. that's the good news. bad news is anything that does happen obviously is just insult to injury at this point. >> absolutely. all right. thank you, chuck. well, the storm killed five people in our region. a tree fell on the roof of a 90-year-old woman's house killing her while she slept in springfield. >> a man died when a tree fell on his car. and also in anne arundel. >> and a woman died when a tree fell on her roof. a man died when he touched a live wire, electrocuting him.
oh. got to watch out for that. >> yeah. if you head out this morning, you could run into this. some dark intersections. patience wore thin for drivers in bethesda yesterday. traffic lights were out like the win at wilson lane and st. elmo avenue. states of emergencies are in effect in the district. maryland, virginia and west virginia. the governors and d.c. mayor made the emergency declarations because of the massive power outages and look at all that widespread damage. virginia governor bob mcdonnell warns people to take precautions when removing trees in the heat. >> here are some of the major concerns that we've got, with debris, in lawns and in roads. we certainly caution people with this high heat to exercise great prudence in how they remove these trees. every weather event that we've got, we have people that either get heat stroke or have heart attacks because of excess
effort. and so people just need to realize that this is exceedingly dangerous in some of these efforts to remove debris and trees. >> the declarations allow officials to apply for financial assistance from the federal government. the crews have been working nonstop to try to restore power to more than 900,000 people. pepco reports more than 349,000 people are without power. dominion is reporting more than 291,000. smeco has more than 18,000. bge with more than 146,000. and novec has more than 42,000. if you are without power and looking for a place to stay cool today, there are a whole list of cooling centers on our website. we want to go out to megan mcgrathment s.
she is looking at the damage that hasn't been cleaned up yet. >> reporter: a lot of progress has been made over the last couple of days but we have a number of issues here. take a look at this huge tree here. we're in the 2900 block of fox hall road, down the street from garfield street here. you can see just the problems that we're encountering. not just here in this neighborhood, but really all across the area. this large tree of course came down in the storm. came down on those power lines. you can see it sort of dangling there across the entire street. we have one of the power lines that's down on the ground. a very dangerous situation. we actually had someone killed over the weekend. they came in contact with a live power line. that was brought down during the storm. if you come across something like this, do not take any chances. do not try to cross underneath a wire that is down like this and certainly do not touch it. because you really cannot be certain whether it's live or not. just call the utility company and they'll come out here and take care of it. now, we're seeing all kinds of detours around the area. you can see the tape that's
across fox hall. we have seen the people turning around. a lot of people getting lost here not looking all that happy. so you'll have to have a little bit of patience here this morning. the traffic signals at many intersections are dark just like this one here. so there will be some frustrating moments if you're out and about today. you're driving around. of course, the big question is when will the power be restored in all areas? well, unfortunately we don't have great news on that. >> probably we're looking at at least seven days. i don't take any pleasure in saying that, but i want to be candid in saying what it will take to get all the customers back on. >> not exactly what people want to hear. of course we're expecting extreme weather again today. you can see from that traffic signal this area without power. we're just not sure exactly when power will be restored. they have made progress. we had over 1 million people without power at one point. those numbers have come down today. the crews are out there. they are working overtime trying to get everyone back online.
but it could be a week. so folks are gonna have to be a little patient and go to the cooling centers. if you don't have air conditioning, if you're compromised in terms of your health, make sure you go to a friend's house, a relative's house, to take advantage of the cooling centers because we're expecting another hot day today. megan mcgrath, news4. >> thank you. now, amtrak says it will operate on a modified schedule in the northeast corridor today because of damage and debris left from friday night's storms. passengers should expect delays especially between baltimore and washington. meantime, more than 230 amtrak passengers stranded in west virginia are on their way home today. they were stuck more than 20 hours after a tree fell on the tracks near the rural town of prince. buses finally picked them up last night. drivers have not only had to deal with fallen tree, but some waited for hours to put gas in their cars at one station on rockville pike.
drivers sat for three hours while waiting for a gas tanker. drivers waited and waited until the tanker finally showed up. however, customers seemed to be in good moods, bonding over the frustrating situation. >> everybody had great spirits here. it was good energy. ironically, i met somebody i would have never met, and we me all the same people. so it was great. >> officials aren't sure what caused this bizarre demand pattern and this didn't happen during other similar heavy storms. well, one bit of good news about gas prices at the pump continue to fall. this picture is from the county, and that has to be the picture of the day. >> i paid 50 cents more a gallon than that. all right, still ahead, the storm forced the folklife festival to make changes.
the supreme court's decision on the health care reform could have a big impact on the president's race. >> "meet the press's" david gregory is joining us this morning. >> hard to think of anybody about who has power and those who doesn't. the politics of the moment is ago health care. >> this is seen as a victory for the president. how do you think it will play out? >> well, i think he'll try to introduce it as a win in front of the voters. people don't understand what's in it. so he has an opportunity to do that i think he'll take that in part. republicans are making it very clear that they want to make this a centerpiece.
they can accept what the supreme court did, but they still want to repeal the law. they're going to try that in the house. that's more, you know, political showmanship more than reality. but mitt romney iss making it clear he wants to repeal it. and so it will have a big impact. >> do you think that will draw in extra voter, people who were on thence if as to who they'd vote for. and romney is saying this is the first thing on my agenda, day one? >> an interesting question. i'm not sure -- the base of both party, you know liberals and conservatives, have strong feelings about the health care act. whether people are turned off by more heated debate about this, i'm not sure. i think the economy is the primary issue, but i think there's no question that as a symbol of, you know, the role of government, this is going to be a big battleground. >> a lot of people were shocked that chief justice roberts decided to uphold this. what are the politics behind that? is that he kind --
>> very interesting. we'll talk about that in our political roundtable as well. it was such an interesting move. whether he flipped at the last moment, whether this was something he did for the integrity of the court because he thought it was important not to have a polarized decision on a polarizing issue, but, you know, the supreme court has an element of politics to it. it is not -- you know, human beings on there who are thinking about how the court is seen over time as well. >> so who's coming up on the show today? >> well, we'll talk about health care, we have nancy pelosi who we'll speak to. we have a debate with bobby jindal and then the roundtable and a book about sargent shriver. he tells the great stories about his dad and his impact. coming up next, a massive
transformer fire, and crews battled the flames near green belt drive. check this out. not far from goddard space flight center. no one was hurt. investigators still investiga investigating if a lightning strike caused this fire. before your open your refrigerator, here are a few tips of what's safe to eat and what to throw away if you lost power. if you kept the doors closed a freezer will stay at full temperature for two full days. refrigerated foods should be safe as long as the power is only out for a few hours and for those folks who have gone much longer than that, well, you might have to just do away with everything. and here's a quick list of -- there was a quick list of what you should throw out. we'll bring you more on that later. starting today it will cost you more to ride on metro. rail fares are going up 5%. bus fares are going up 10 cents.
parking rates are going up a quarter. using a paper card will cost riders an extra dollar for each trip. the good news is that the peak of the peak surcharge will be eliminated. it will be helped to balance the operating budget. and of course, we're still talking about the weather a lot. people are sweating it out today without power so how hot will it get today? >> upper 90s. we have chuck bell standing by. >> yes, indeed, another summer sizzler on the way today. the month of july is off to where june left. a check of today's forecast and look at the fourth of july.
that could have been tossed around again. >> yeah. we're dodging every bullet we can at this point in time after friday's, you know, lambasting from mother nature across the area. now you have noticed the difference yesterday from friday. the sky was considerably bluer yesterday afternoon. today though, the gunky haze layer is starting to come in. sun is up in a day where 800,000 of your friends and neighbors without power in the immediate region. still looks like another chance for a thunderstorm later this afternoon, but not like a super hard hit like the other night. that won't make a difference for people who didn't have power or air conditioning. 77 at national airport. dew points are still at 70 degrees. that's midsummer level of ugly humidity. 79% relative humidity gets your sunday started.
70 degrees in manassas and culpepp culpepper. and here's your hometown forecast, annapolis. up to 93 degrees, plenty of sunshine for today. not much of a rain threat for you folks out towards the bay for today. back down into the upper 80s by 10:00 this evening. off to another mild 78 degree start on your monday morning. these are false returns on the radar right around town. these are real showers and thunderstorms headed down into the hampton road area of virginia and then on to the outer banks of north carolina. those won't be bothering us, but another batch out towards central west virginia. those showers and thunderstorms are staying down to the south of the immediate washington metro area. but you folks down towards culpepper, spotsylvania, you have to watch out for that cluster. it's 10 to 12 hours away from now the way it is shaping up.
the showers rolling down towards tide water night. that's the direction that the thunderstorms are traveling. they're going to arrive right along that boundary. even though there's a low chance for a thunderstorm today, the problem is any storms that do get going will be fairly robust because of all the intense heat. once again today, no relief coming our way as we head towards the fourth of july. sunny, hot and humid today. one or two thunderstorms possible. any of the thunderstorms that fire up could be strong. best chances will be south and west of the immediate metro area. for tomorrow, a risk of some late-night fading showers bringing us a monday morning rain drop or two. and a little better chance tomorrow than today. it's near 90 for ocean city, whereas around town upper 90s to 100 today. a little bit of an enhanced chance for thunderstorms
tomorrow. another chance coming up on the fourth and the 5th of july. nothing cooler than 92 all week. >> all right. still 90s. >> where is september when you need it? >> thank you, chuck. today's final round of the at&t national will feature screaming and cheering fans. friday's storm did enough damage to the course that congressional country club closed the third round to fans. tee times were pushed back six hours as parts of trees were scattered across the fairways and the sand traps. as for the actual tournament, tiger woods is set to take his classic final-round push. he ended the third round at 5 under par tied for second place and just one shot behind leader brendon de jonge. stephen strasburg is used to bringing the heat, but yesterday the heat got the best of him. he only lasted three innings against the braves because of the scorching temperatures. he needed three bags of iv fluid after his outing. temperatures in atlanta were around 107 degrees and it was even hotter at the field level.
and at one point, it was close to 120 degrees. >> oh. meanwhile, today, the smithsonian folklife national on the national mall is back on. it was closed yesterday after several tents were damaged from friday night's storms. the festival will open at 11:00 this morning. it features thousands of panels from the aids memorial quilt. that's the first time it has been on display at the national mall since 1996. thousands of people still without power and it could be like that for days. but some are making the most of the power outages. news4 found one family enjoying their time without lights. the lane family decided to get together for a game of monopoly by flashlight. they said it's a bit of an adventure playing in the dark. >> we don't have the internet. we don't have any television, no lights. >> so it's monopoly? >> it's a bit of an adventure.
like camping. >> yeah, like camping. >> yeah, like camp. dominion power says it will have a more detailed assessment of when power will return later today. i think that's fun because i like to cheat at monopoly. so if it's dark, you can sneak some of those $5 bills -- >> steal some of the properties. >> yeah. you have to win. anything to win. >> you should play by the rules, lights on or out. >> a stickler for the rules. well, there's still news4 coming up after the break. >> and we still have the viewpoint. stay with us. [ female announcer ] safeway presents
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there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪ good morning. welcome to news4 tuesday. i'm erica gonzalez. >> i'm richard jordan. it's sunday, july 1, 2012. we begin today with an update on the heat and we are joined by chuck bell. >> don't expect much in the way of a good treatment from mother nature today. expect more of the same. unfortunately that's not what anybody wants to hear. for the lucky few that have electricity and can watch us this morning you should count your blessings, no doubt. a hazy and muggy start.
temperature already 78 at national airport. 79 in annapolis. 77 at solomon's island. waldorf and la plata 76 degrees. so off to a muggy start. no rain in the immediate area just yet. a few sprinkles down towards the central parts of the shenandoah valley. there are thunderstorms brewing out across the ohio valley out near cincinnati. most of those will go just down to the west and southwest of town today, but nonetheless, you folks down towards spotsylvania and culpepper, look out, you have a better chance of thunderstorms today than us in town. not a big thunderstorm threat for today, but even a small thunderstorm threat needs to be taken seriously with temperatures flirting with 100 degrees this afternoon. bring your friends a cooler full of ice cold water. >> thanks. >> that's what i would do. >> appreciate that. let's go on to the top
stories this morning. more than 948,000 people without power. pepco reports more than 349,000 people without power. dominion, 291,000. smeco, they have got 18,000. bge has more than 146,000. and novec, 142,000. the utilities companies say it could take them up to a week to restore power to all of their customers. the lights are still out for more than 100,000 people in prince georges county. firefighters were called to a senior living apartment building yesterday after residents began getting sick from the heat. no one was seriously hurt. fairfax county says its 911 service has been partially restored. calls were not getting in after friday night's storm. county leaders are still urging people to call the dispatch number or go to the local fire or police station in case of emergency.
that dispatch number 703-691-7561. and those are just some of the stories that are making news today. up next, nbc4's viewpoint. >> we'll be back in a couple of minutes. stay with us. good morning, everybody. welcome to viewpoint. today we are talking about prince georges county schools, changes in leadership and the challenges ahead. and our guest this morning, dwayne arbagas and the chair of the board of education, gina jacobs. welcome to you both. great to see you. i want to get to the successes, the recent successes and there have been many in the school system. let's talk about what everybody has been talking about for a week or two now and that's the superintendent possibly leaving. we do tape on thursday, but should he leave, having just had the deputy superintendent leave, what type of vacuum does this create? >> so it certainly creates a unique situation for the school districts. so the board of education has,
you know, jumped right into it and when dr. hite announced he was a finalist in philadelphia we immediately started to put together some plans that, you know, that we would have to use in the event that he actually leaves. so let me say this first. one of the things that we did in dr. hite's contract was to create a notice clause and that clause is 120 days. so for at least four months we would have a transition period if you will. it is unique in that we don't have a deputy superintendent, but we have looked at who in the system would be prepared to step up to the leadership role in the event we need to do that. that's one of the reasons we also have dr. arbagas our chief academic officer. at this point, we really, you know, we -- we're concentrating on the opening of schools, wanting to make sure that's the first priority going forward. >> and doctor, you have been in your role for how long? you came from anne arundel? >> yes.
i have been in the role for 2 1/2 years. >> when you mention his name, are we talking an interim basis? what would it be? >> the board is considering whether to use an internal person on an interim basis or maybe even seek someone who has been a superintendent, who is doing other work who has done the work. that would be a final decision of the board, but essentially we're trying to make sure that we're at least looking at all options available to make sure that we're, you know, moving forward and that, you know, in any event that, you know, progress doesn't stop. >> dr. hite's contract runs through the next school year. >> 2013. >> but i'm assuming any school system could buy that out. is that what might happen, the potential there? >> certainly. so he -- that's why we have the notice requirement. so by state law we have a situation where the superintendents has to give notice to the board, february 1st of the year that their contract ends anyway. the board put the 120-day provision in in case it happened prior to that time. >> we are talking about
philadelphia t eighth largest school system he's up for. interested he publicly said in that position, but he's also been courted by other school systems around the country. do you get the sense he's eager to leave, and have there been efforts to try to keep him? >> clearly that is part of the discussion that the board will have with the superintendent hite. i think it's a testament to the progress we have seen. dr. hite and the board of ed have been working together for six years as a team. so our team has been together for a long time. i think that combination has really helped the school district. so, you know, clearly we would be in the position where things that are within our control to offer him, we would have that discussion with the superintendent if in fact he's willing to stay. >> are you under the impression he wants to leave? >> you know, i think he clearly has said that he and his wife deidre see this as an opportunity, and so i don't -- i'm pretty clear that it has more to do with a different opportunity or another challenge
if you will. so one of the things obviously for the board is that, you know, now you have to really stay to see the work really move forward. we have really rolled up our sleeves over the last six years. and in doing that, you know, even sitting as board chair for the last five it has been at a good place watching what's happened with our students. so i think it's more about, you know, just another opportunity, another challenge. >> let's talk to you, because you were hired by dr. hite. let's mention a few of the successes. we know test scores are on the rise. and that has gotten a lot of publicity, a lot to be proud of there. what do you attribute that to you? >> i think as you look at the test scores i think it's several things. one a focus on school leadership. we have been very deliberate in both developing the principal pipeline and getting the right people to run the schools that teets first thing. second thing, i think there were a lot of initiatives in prince georges county.
if you count initiatives as noise, there was a lot of noise at the school level. i think what we have done through strategic planning and because of the budget, we have narrowed down what the focus is. i think that's paid dividends for us. >> talk about some of the budget priorities right now. and the budget is a big one for this coming academic year. what are the priorities? $1.65 billion. >> absolutely. so, you know, the budget this year is driven by what we call student-based budgeting. which is new to us. the board some years ago looked at policy development around how do we make sure that we're -- that funding follows the child. so the priorities have been around for this budget year student-based. innovative programs. obviously making sure we're fiscally sound and the employees obviously. those four characters have really helped us to frame the work. the student-based budgeting is going to be different for our district. the principals get more
autonomy. they can decide where their staffing levels are. so we think that that is the key to academic success when you have money following the student. so we're excited about that. and we think it's going to present an opportunity. we had a pilot last year, but we think it will present an opportunity for principals to dig deep and decide what's best for their kids. >> we want to talk more about that on the other side of the break. stay with us. we'll be right back.
matter. >> there are a couple of things in play. one is our reputation in the educational community. and there are some reform work happening in prince georges county that's leading the way nationally. our work around fair student funding and our work around instructional program. and that's creating a buzz and people want to be part of this intellectual energy. so when we talked about recruitment, i was actually talking about leadership. people around the state and around the country looking to us and want to be part of what's happening. on the external piece, our position in the community is growing also. so teachers are saying, yes, i want to work in this district. this is a place that i think i can make a real difference. of course, the economy has changed things too. you know, years ago there weren't that many -- there were a lot of teaching jobs. now there are very few. it's become much more competitive. >> which lets you get the best
talent i would think when you have that many people vying for it. let's talk about the economy and how challenging that has been for the system and these -- in these tight times and tough climate when you're talk about retirement plans. and for many jurisdictions dwindling enrollment too. >> absolutely. so we have actually experienced $150 million cuts consecutively for three years. it's created challenges and also created opportunities as you heard him talk about earlier. so while we have had those challenges, the progress has continued so that's -- you know, these go to the commitment -- that goes to the commitment of our staff. when you think of that, our budget losses have been -- has amounted to some municipalities' entire budgets. so it provided us an opportunity, however, to look at what's working and what not. sort of focused the work.
our work has been driven around equity. when this board of educate started in 2006, we sort of came in with the focus of how do we make sure that's equitable distribution. we know that equity is not equal. we want it to be a district of success. so we have had the budget challenges we have actually seen an opportunity to right size the district and to look at those areas that best meet the needs of students. >> let's talk about the system. where is it in terms of numbers? you've got about 123,000 students. >> 123,000 students. >> and teachers, how big of a system is it? how many schools? >> we have more than 200 schools. >> wow. >> we have our teacher population is now about 9,000. overall, about a 17,000 employees. >> and it's the second largest school system after montgomery county in the entire state of maryland. >> that's right. >> are you seeing class sizes pretty stable? are they shrinking or growing? >> that's been one of the
challenges of the budget. we have seen increases in class sizes depending on the grade level. superintendent hite recommended some changes but we wanted to keep some stable, particularly at the elementary level where you really need that difference. but that's been a challenge for us. the board has really had some difficulty around that issue. but we have also seen opportunities. so when you look at -- so we have had coteaching opportunities where, you know, you look at the challenges that you have and how do you, you know, be creative around that work? so that's been helpful. but we are concerned at times about the class sizes to make sure that kids are getting what they need. >> let's talk about some of the tangibles and we mentioned the test scores. where are the successes, where are the challenges? has dropout rate -- have the dropout rates improved? >> dropout rate is hard to get your hands around because of how it's calculated. so the state this past year went to a graduation rate, four-year cohort and a five-year cohort as
opposed to the way they used to calculate which is called the labor method which is a complex algorithm. there's been a charge that graduation rates weren't accurate or falsified. so now we're tracking when the children enter ninth grade and if they graduate in four or five years. and we are seeing some improvement in graduation rates, but i would argue that right now we're still getting base line data because our data has gotten much better as far as how we track students. so graduation is looking better. our participation in advanced course work has really grown and we have actually -- you know, maryland is the number one state in the country by ed week. part of their oneness is the work around the minority students in advanced placement
in international baccalaureatba. so we feel like we're carrying the banner for them. so i think we're really pushing this idea that children in poverty and circumstances of poverty can perform at high levels. children of color can perform at high levels and that's really the message that we're trying to send out to the rest of the state. >> in test scores where are you seeing the big increases? when we look at math, math, science, versus reading -- >> so the increases have been very steady. not dramatic changes each year. but the trends are all moving in the right direction. the trends around student population like special ed are moving in the right direction. it's slow and it's hard work, but we really look at trends and all of our trends are moving in the directions that we want. >> so when it's slow, sometimes that's more long term and more long lasting. one would think. >> the other thing is we're actually -- you want to compare our progress against other districts that look like us and that across the state. as the state has levelled off,
our performance continues to increase. >> are you fairly unique in the country because of the large minority population in an affluent suburb of washington, d.c.? >> i think so, but if you look at -- if you look at the state, so ten of the districts out of the 24 have less than 10,000 students. and the district right above us which i believe is somerset county, theientire school district will fit in one of our high schools. >> wow. >> when you think of the those numbers and you look at school districts of our size, look at montgomery, and fairfax, montgomery county spends almost $1 million more in funding. we have characteristics that look at affluence, but what we tried to do is be focused on equity because we do see the have's and have-nots in prince georges county, regardless of the affluence. we clearly do have a scenario in situations where kids of poverty still need, you know, the level
good morning, everyone. here are some of the stories that we are following this morning. residents in fairfax county are waking up to a boil water advisory. it's for customers of the falls church water utility in tysons corner. vienna, dunn loring and merrifield. water pressure in the country is low which could allow bacteria to enter the pipes. in maryland there are water restrictions in montgomery and prince georges county. they're ordering people to stop all outdoor water use and take
shorter showers and limit toilet flushing and limit running the dishwasher. we'll have much more in a few minutes. up next, viewpoint. stay with us. news4 continues. welcome back to view point. again, we are talking about the school system in prince georges county. the successes they have had and the challenges they see. i want to turn to the demographics shift. "the washington post" did an article about not -- not the influx, but the changing demographics and not sweeping, but they're seeing many more young white families moving in with young kids. one would on the surface would think that schools are important, so they must be thinking that something is going well in prince georges county, the schools in that age group are doing well. >> i think people are updating themselves about prince georges county public schools and we are
trying to do a better job of communicating about what's really happening. some people do live in the past of the struggles that we have had around academic achievement, but every family is concerned about schools an every family wantbes wants to make sure their children are in an environment to learn. i think the changes we are seeing are attributed to the successes that we have had, and then i think that while it's been slow, some of the trust starting to come back. we're saying to families, look, bring your kids back, hold us accountable. and we'll -- we really can all be successful if you do that. >> another demographic shift in certain parts of the district, langley park for one and around it. an increase in the number of latino students. what kinds of resources have you thrown that way? >> so i think it's important when you talk about demographic shifts to talk about the nature of the demographic shifts. yes, the latino population is growing, but you can distinguish first generation or people who have come with interrupted
schooling, which tends to be probably our most problematic. so these are children who are 15 or 16 years old who only have one or two years of formal schooling in their previous country and that's a challenge for us. a lot of it is concentrated in the northwest section of the district. those schools are wrapping the resources around that. we're also in conversations with community partners including in maryland to consider a contract school in the langley park area to service specifically students in the -- in that area. so we're -- through our training with our teachers we are trying to address that. another important group is our immigrant population is growing, but it's not just latino. not just central america. we have a large african immigrant population and we are trying to address those needs also. and we have on the sensitive to cultural changes and we have to be really open and we have to hold the mirror up to ourselves to make sure that we're not putting unseen barriers in front
of children. >> you talk about community partners. one of the big ones is the prince georges community college. you have a program that's in its second year and it's called the academy of health sciences. it's been a success so far? >> i think it's been a huge success. it's the only middle college in the state of maryland, so we're proud of that. but we also -- what with -- it rst-year -- first generation students. the idea is to prepare them for college. so we have seen success there. the idea was to add students each year, and i think this year we'll be able to add an additional 100 students. >> that's exciting. we'll take another break, so stay with us. you stay with us too. we'll be right back on viewpoint. let's take a paint project from
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too. a challenge for every district is getting parents more involved. you can never have too many parents too involved. is that a challenge for you and how do you get parents more involved and what's going on in their kid's schools? >> so it's a challenge. parents are working, they have things that are going on to keep the family together. but we really -- what we have determined as parent engagement in many ways is making sure you're sending your child ready to learn. they have had their breakfast, they're prepared to learn. but we also like for parents to be more engaged in the day to day process. you know, so one of the things at the board level we try to have unity outreach -- community outreach meetings where with esay to the parents, he's the opportunity for you to let us know what's going on. but i think part of that has to do with how we're best communicating through our social media areas in ways that we
stream the board meetings so the parents can actually get engaged. at the school level, i think that we want -- we want parents to hold us accountable. so we really want them to be engaged in that process, but i think what happens with that is that we have to make sure that the schools are inviting. that teachers are communicating. i think the idea, although when we first started school, it presented some challenges for us. but it's an opportunity for parents to know what's going on in their kids' grades. there's other things we can do. one other thing that i think is really critical is parent academies. one area that we found is that sometimes parents aren't engaged because they don't know how to be engaged. how do we help them best navigate the system, so parent academies have helped us help them better themselves in the system and in helping their children. >> that's great. i wanted to return to where we started out, and dr. hite, the possibly he could be leaving again. we're taping thursday. post editorial, critical of how
the superintendent has been quote undermined. much like his predecessor. it is a highly charged political environment and may have three members under age 21 after november's elections. you have been in your role of chair for five years so there's some continuity there. but the post was very critical. to go on, it's not who has your back, it's going -- who's going to stab you in the back. and it arked for keeping dr. hite in the position. do you see that it's a tough position for a superintendent to be in in the prince georges county? >> i think being superintendent is a tough job, being on the board of education is a tough job. it's hard work. you have the future of children. their ability to be successful in your hands. so it's a tough job. i think when we attribute -- when the superintendent has to essentially answer to every elected official including the board of education and parents and the community, i want
prese present -- it presents a challenge. i think what's most important, since we all care about education and since it really is number one in terms of how we want to see our county move forward, then how do we best communicate with each other to determine what's best for our constituents? now, in the state of maryland, the board of education is the only constituted legal authority with regard to education. but i think that we have to be responsive to our constituency. i just believe that we have to make sure that the superintendent is in a position where he feels that he knows who he's really responsive to. and ultimately, it's got to be about the kids so we didn't have adult-driven decisions. >> speaking of adult decision, who gets credit or blamed, baker wants to name a special commissioner on ways to advise to improve the school system. do you welcome that? >> absolutely. >> we have a few seconds left. >> so we always welcome the collaboration and partnerships. we just want to make sure that
when we're looking at alternative areas of advisory that we're actually participating in making sure that we're all on the same page about the hard work of education. >> five seconds left. doctor, you have the last word. what are your most proud of? you have served under this superintendent for two years now. >> i think the work we have done, has been good not only for the children of prince georges county, but also informed the national audience. i think our work in the struggling schools, our work with minority children, our work in the large school district is -- it's sent a message to the nation this work can be done when everyone works together. i think "the washington post" article maybe didn't acknowledge the good work that has really come around a shared vision. >> well, congratulations on all the successes and good luck with all the challenges ahead. we appreciate it. great to see you both. thanks for coming in. thank you for watching. enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody. stay cool out there. now back to news4 today.
they told me seven days. who can wait seven days with 100 degrees? >> more than 30 hours after the storm, frustration is beginning to set in for thousands of people in our area still without power this morning. >> crews are working around the clock to clear trees and restore electricity but days of work are still ahead. >> that's right. good morning, everyone. welcome to news4 today. >> and it is sunday, july 1, 2012. today, thousands of people will clean up after the storm. the violent storm killed 13 people including five right here in our area. >> strong winds knocked down trees that fell through the roofs of two elderly women's homes, killing them. fallen trees killed two drivers in their cars and a downed power
line electrocuted a man. >> a boil water notice is in effect for some people in fairfax county. water restrictions are also in effect for washington suburban sanitary customers. >> much more on the storm damage in a moment, but first, let's check on today's weather. chuck bell joins us here with the latest. >> toasty warm again today. the lone good news is that our rain chances are lower. more importantly our thunderstorm chances are a little lower than the past couple of days. they're not zero. i can't tell you there's no chance, because there's at least a small chance for thunderstorms today. current temperatures it's steamy and sticky outside. 79 in annapolis this morning. 78 already in downtown washington. 70 in manassas this morning. mid to upper 70s first thing. no rain immediately in the area. there are showers down in the southeastern virginia. there's another little batch of
thunderstorms toward cincinnati, ohio. that's the one that we're keeping a close eye on here. the way the storms are moving, most of them will start from about the central parents of the shenandoah valley southbound. so from harrison burg to roanoke to richmond. small, but not zero storm chances. the real problem, once again, no surprise, sizzling hot. 98, 99 degrees coming up for today with a few thunderstorms around. for tomorrow, back to work for a lot of folks. might have some early morning showers and another chance for some later afternoon/evening thunderstorms tomorrow. better chance tomorrow for everybody than today. >> thank you, chuck. appreciate that. well, in the middle of the heat wave, people still do not have power. the numbers have been changing overnight as crews restore power. that's a lot of people. pepco reporting more than 349,000 customers without power. dominion reports more than 291,000.
smeco reporting more than 18,000 folks without electricity today. bge at 146,000 and novec reporting just slightly under that at 142,000 without power. it could take up to a week to restore elect tris. parts of northern virginia were hit hard. dominion power as we said has about 291,000 customers still in the dark. >> joining us this morning on the phone, ken barker from dominion with the latest. how are things shaping up this morning? >> caller: good morning. thanks for having me this morning. we have had made good progress over the last 36 hours but we have a lot of work to do. to put this storm in perspective, it's the largest restoration effort of a non-hurricane in our 100-year history. so top five restoration effort with all hurricanes in our 100-year history. we had about 540,000 out at the peak. right now, we've got about
290,000 customers out in northern virginia. we have got an army of resources here and more on their way. we've got a commitment for 1,000 outside resources that are either here or on their way. but our main concern is the heat. with our customers and workers out there. but i would stress we have a long way to go on this storm. >> ken, can you tell us what areas you'll be focusing on today, who will be likely to get power restored today? what cities, what neighborhoods? >> caller: well, we've got crews blanketing the area. obviously, we're in the first mode of restoration which is critical infrastructure, nursing homes, cooling centers. particularly hard hit city of alexandria, great falls, mclean, all of those areas will see a lot of workers out today. >> and ken, i'm sure you can understand the frustration of many people who are hearing it could be a week, up to seven days without power. is that still the prognosis
here, are you still looking at that week time frame? >> caller: you know, dominion has not come out with an end date yet. we'll come out with at noon today. it was such widespread damage, so today we will have an end date for the storm. unfortunately we won't have a date for any individual customers at this point. but by noon today we'll have a good rock solid date you can count on. >> are there any particular locations that are maybe a top priority for you folks today? >> caller: well, again -- >> whether it be nursing homes or hospitals, things like that? >> caller: we have gotten all the hospitals on. we are completing nursing homes. cooling centers deep in neighborhoods continue to be a priority for us. we want to make sure that folks can get to these areas. you'll see crews all over today. but in particular finishing up on the critical infrastructure which includes the cooling
centers. >> all right, ken barker, we'll check in with you throughout the day. >> caller: thank you very much. not only are thousands without power right now, but there's also the danger of downed wires and trees. news4's meghan mcgrath is joining us on foxhall road where a tree is still blocking the street? can you hear us this morning? yeah, i've got you. we're here at foxhall and garfield street and you can see that the traffic signal is still dark here. a detour is in place. now, the culprit, let's spin around here and take a look at this tree. a very large tree came down in the storm. it's actually dangling on some power lines. they're going all the way across both sides of the street. one of the power lines has come undone and is laying on the ground there and we have a power pole that's now leaning at a rather precarious angle. so this street had to be completely closed down. no traffic is getting through at this point.
we have not seen any crews. of course they have to remove this tree first before they can get to work on the power lines. we are seeing damage similar to this. not only in this similar location, but neighborhoods all across the area. we bumped into a cab driver and he described some of the damage he has seen. >> it's a disaster all over. >> reporter: so it's pretty widespread? >> it is pretty widespread, yeah. i don't know how long it will take -- >> caller: have you had to take a lot of detours and stuff? >> detours all over. i was working during the storm. and it was crazy. people were crying and, you know, but this is the second night i haven't slept. so trying to help people. >> reporter: and again, you can see the tree here. a live look at this large tree that came down in the storm. it's still unfortunately in place across both lanes of traffic here on foxhall road. if you're going out and about today, keep in mind you're
likely going to see large branches even detours in your travels this morning, as well as signals that are out. because we still have a lot of power outages. a lot of damage that still has to be cleaned up. certainly, take your time. bring your patience. and take it easy out there. reporting live in northwest, meghan mcgrath, news4. >> thanks. i came up on that intersection yesterday at 4:00 in the morning, a scary sight. it's surprising to see a highly trafficked area is still not clear. who knows if it will ready for rush hour tomorrow. >> reporter: right. we're surprised we haven't seen any activity. we have been here at 4:00, and we're surprised. and foxhall is a well-travelled road. tomorrow is going to be the b big -- the testing day here as people head back to work or try to head back to work. so hopefully, they'll get a lot more of this cleaned up. right now it looks like a tough go tomorrow in rush hour as
well. >> thank you so much. need to cool off today? we have a whole list of cooling centers on our website. the lights are still out for thousands in prince georges county. firefighters were called to a senior living apartment building after residents began getting sick from the heat. pepco is working to restore electricity to more than 100,000 people. residents could be waiting up to seven days for the power to come back on. >> they told me seven days. who can wait seven days with 100 degrees? >> a lot of people sharing that sentiment. high winds ripped roofs off apartment buildings in hyattsville and riverdale. at least one man had to be rescued from a burning apartment in landover hills. at this bp gas station here, wind blew the canopy over and broke a pump. a woman pumping gas at the time was not hurt. someone broke into the business
after it was shut down, but nothing was taken. county leaders still urging people to call its dispatch number or go to even a local fire or police station in case of an emergency. that dispatch number, 703-691-7561. now this morning states of emergency are in effect in the district, maryland, virginia and west virginia. the governor and d.c. mayor made the emergency declarations because of the massive power outages. virginia governor mcdonnell warns people to take precautions while removing the trees in this the heat. >> with the debris in the lawns and the roads we certainly caution people with this high heat to exercise great prudence in how they remove these trees. every weather event that we have got we have people that either get heat stroke or have heart attacks because of excess
effort. and so people just need to realize that this is exceedingly dangerous in some of these efforts to remove debris and trees. >> the declarations allow officials to apply for financial assistance from the federal government. we should mention that the dispatch scenter having issues with 911 is in fairfax county. if you have an emergency, call 911 in the other ones. if you're in fairfax, we'll have that number on the website as well in case you couldn't jot that down. coming up, why people waited for hours for gas. plus, what needs to be trashed after the long power outage.
the latest on the heat wave. truly dangerous with more than two million people still without power after that nasty storm hit the east coast. then, take a look at this disturbing video. kids are fighting as adults look on. encouraging them. we'll take about the message this sends. also ahead, an update on amy copeland. she's fighting off a flesh-eating bacteria. she's about to mark a major milestone. her father will join us exclusively for an update. all that plus, the latest on tom cruise and katie holmes' shocking split. we'll ask why celebrity couples have a hard time sticking together. all that and more when peter alexander and i get started on a sunday morning right here on "today." back to you, guys. >> thanks. see you later. and some dramatic video of the massive transformer fire in prince georges county. the firefighters battled the
flames not far from goddard space flight center. they're thinking that a lightning strike may have caused this fire. before you open your refrigerator morning here's a few tips of what's safe to eat and what you should throw away. if you lost power. so if you kept the doors closed, a full freezer will stay at freezing temps for about two days. a half full freezer, just about one day. refrigeratored food should be safe as long as the power is out for a couple of hours. here's a list of things to worry about spoiling, meat, soft cheeses, cooked foods. these foods should be discarded if they warm up above 40 degrees. some residents in fairfax county are waking up under a boil water advisory. falls church and tysons corner, vienna, dunn loring and
merrifield should boil their water. those who don't boil their water can suffer intestinal problems. in maryland, montgomery and prince georges county have water restrictions. customers are ordered to stop all outdoor water use. people should also take shorter shower, limit toilet flushing and hold off using the dishwasher and washing machine. the water is safe to drink, but power problems have slowed down the distribution systems. amtrak says it will operate on a modified schedule in the northeast corridor because of damage and debris left from friday night's storms. passengers should expect delays between baltimore and washington. meantime, more than 230,000 amtrak passengers were stranded but now they're on their way home. they were stuck more than 20 hours after a tree fell on the tracks near the rural town of prince. buses finally picked them up last night. well, if you're headed out
this morning, you could run into that. dark intersections. patience is wearing thin for many drivers. most were out at hundreds of intersections like at wilson lane and st. elmo avenue. drivers have not had only had to deal with fallen trees, but some sat in line for hours just to get gas in their car. at one station on rockville pike, drivers sat for three hours while waiting for gas. drivers waited and waited and then they waited some more until the tanker finally showed up. however, customers seemed to be in good spirits despite the frustrating wait. >> it's been this way all day. lines, lines, lines. so when we actually got into a line that was short, they ran out of gas, we waited for the gas to come. >> officials aren't sure what caused so many people to need gas at one time. they say there weren't gas lines during other similar heavy
storms. you know, the one bit of good news about gas is that the prices at the pump continue to fall. look at the picture. $2.95. from spotsylvania county. not bad at all. i think we're still pumping at $3.30 something. >> yeah, good to see it's a downward trend all across the board though. which is good. especially now in the summertime, so many people are planning road trips. for the big holiday weekend, so we have chuck bell to fill in us on the forecast. >> with the fourth of july coming up this week. very important, the first day of july. you know, we finished up june and i think a lot of us are ready to close the books on that month in particular. so let's see how the month
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[ coaster whoosh ] brave the black forest on verbolten. the all-new multi-launch coaster. only at busch gardens. you have been dealing with this excessive heat, storms. we're ready for a break. >> we'd love a few of the days last week to be bottled up a pasted on the seven-day forecast. there's no super good news from the heat related standpoint. the heat is back on already today. temperatures will be flirting with 100 degrees again this afternoon. we made 97 yesterday. we'll probably be every bit of 97, 8 or 9 again later on this
afternoon. right now, hazy sunshine across the area. not much in the way of cloud cover to hold the sunshine back at all. current temperature at national airport a balmy and steamy 78 degrees. dew point at 71. so your relative humidity here first thing this morning is at 79%. awfully sticky out there. a light wind out of the southwest averaging three miles per hour. winds again just like they have been the last few days, generally out of the west, but only at five to ten. yesterday there was a niese wre -- a nice westerly breeze. 79 in annapolis right now. it's going to be another sizzler to be outside today. temperatures in the upper 90s by this afternoon. we'll have a chance at a few p.m. thunderstorms but the emphasis on few. some thunderstorms, some fairly strong now, going through
southeastern virginia. this next cluster out here across the ohio valley that is going to be driving down to the south. so you folks from about fredericksburg to richmond will have a better chance for rain today. so a chance for showers today but it will be a relatively low chance and the chances will be primarily down to the south of town. again, if you see the thunderstorms starting to come, you hear the rumble of thunder take it seriously because with all the heat out there again today, what few showers and storms do bubble up could become severe once again. worth keeping an eye on the sky today and for this evening. again, for tomorrow, high pressure settling on in. one or two scattered shower chances coming on in for tomorrow afternoon as well. no relief from the heat in sight. unfortunately. today, mostly sunny, hot and humid today. a chance for some showers and storms this afternoon. mainly down to the south. highs today upper 90s.
then to our partly sunny, a risk of a few rain drops first thing in the morning and then another chance for thunderstorms to bubble up tomorrow. and it will be plenty hot. highs in the mid to upper 90s. if you're headed down to the beach, get in the ocean. ocean water, 75 degrees. on the sand, temperatures flirting with 90 degrees once again. here's our seven-day forecast, 99. 95 tomorrow. everybody with a chance of storms tomorrow. tuesday looks dry and fourth of july, another chance for storms coming back in. i don't see any more of the super bad weather like we had on friday. back just a notch. >> stay cool and hydrated today, folks. today the smithsonian folklife festival on the national mall is back on. it was closed yesterday after several tents were damaged from friday night storms. this year's event features thousands of panels from the
aids memorial quilt. this is the first time the quilt has been displayed on the national mall since 1996. thousands are still without power and that could last for days. but some are making the most of the power outages. news4 found one family enjoying their time without electricity. the lane family enjoyed monopoly by flashlight. it's a bit of an adventure playing in the dark. >> we don't have internet or television, no lights. >> so it's monopoly? >> a little bit of an adventure. like camping. >> yeah. like camping. >> yeah. that's cute. dominion power says it will have a more detailed assessment of when power will return later today. and that's it for news4 today. we'll be back in 25 minutes with a local news update. the "today" show is coming up next. they'll have more on the extreme heat affecting the entire country. we'll be back at 9:00 and we'll break down the power outages, the heat we're expecting today. all of it coming up at 9:00. see you then.